MILAN, March 11 (Reuters) - Telecom Italia (TIM) said on Wednesday it would not agree to being a minority shareholder in any single broadband network created by a tie up with smaller rival Open Fiber.
TIM is currently in talks with U.S. infrastructure fund KKR to invest in its own secondary last-mile network.
But it is also looking to engineer a merger with Open Fiber, controlled by utility Enel and state lender CDP.
But with Enel reluctant to part with its business and regulatory and funding issues also clouding the horizon, talks have so far been fruitless.
“Its time for Enel to make up its mind and decide,” TIM Chief Executive Luigi Gubitosi said in a conference call on its new business plan, adding there was institutional support for a single network.
“This year something must happen ... CDP has pushed for a transaction,” Gubitosi said.
TIM, partly owned by CDP, said FiberCop, a vehicle owning TIM’s fibre and copper last-mile network, was worth 7.5 billion euros, including debt. It said the sale of a 40% stake to KKR would allow it to cash in around 1.8 billion euros.
The former telephone monopoly, whose shareholders include French media giant Vivendi, aims to gradually switch its last-mile network to fibre. (Reporting by Elvira Pollina and Stephen Jewkes; editing by David Evans)